Wonderful Wednesday 53

25 April 2018

A short but sweet round-up this week as I type this frantically on Tuesday night after getting home late from a seminar. A good excuse to look for some choice happy moments, amongst my yawns! On with the good times!


♥ Walks in the sunshine... Over the last few weekends, I've really felt like I've been able to stretch my legs for the first time since we moved in. It's amazing what a boost some good weather brings. We've started to explore more of the area, which is so different to the suburbs of London where we've always lived together. There's actual countryside pretty much on our doorstep and I'm loving it! I feel like I can breathe again.

On Sunday, we walked through some fields near our house, following some footpaths that had thankfully mostly dried out over the last week of sunshine. We passed a few dog walkers but for the majority of the time, it was just the two of us; fields of horses, gorgeous blossom and blissful silence. We even discovered a field full of forget-me-nots, absolutely beautiful. 

♥ Gardening... This last weekend was so wonderful! We'd been saying all week that if it lasted to the weekend, we wanted to get out into our little garden and have a good old tidy. It was the perfect weather for it really - not as hot as the days preceding it and with a refreshing breeze. I had the easier job, digging all the weeds out of the pots, while the mister chopped away at an abundance of ivy that had grown everywhere during the long winter months. We'd picked up a few plants earlier on the Saturday - only a few until we really plan what we'd like to do with the space and go to a garden centre, but enough to add a splash of colour here and there. My little chilli seeds that have been sitting in a pot on our windowsill for the last few weeks finally started to sprout this weekend too - hopefully they'll be ready to plant outside in another week or two!

♥ Summer drinks... I popped into the supermarket on my way home from work on Friday, searching for something cooling and refreshing to sip out in the garden after a long hot week and discovered a new drink that is going to be my go-to choice this summer - Belvoir's Cucumber and Mint Pressé. My goodness, it was everything I was looking for and more. Cooling, refreshing, sweet without feeling like all my teeth were going to fall out. Super tasty - give it a try if you spot it! I poured myself a glass as soon as I got home and sat out in the garden watching the red kites soar overhead and a few hot air balloons over the hills in the distance...and felt my shoulders drop and all the week's tension ease away.

♥ Lunch breaks... I'm dreadful for not taking a lunch break. I pop downstairs to heat up some soup, bring it back up to my desk and before I know it, the hour has passed without me stirring and (on occasion) with my soup sitting cold beside me. I know it's not good and I do really notice the benefit in the afternoons when I do pop out for a quick walk outside. Over the last week, thanks to the sunny weather, I've been popping out a little more and it's been lovely. Even Monday, which was oddly chilly again (boo!), I popped out for 15 minutes and read my book in the park. Here's to taking a few more well-deserved breaks.

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoSamKerri, LauraSarahPetaElMimmiMartinaLynseyKatie and Em (I think that's everyone - shout at me if you're not on the list!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Wonderful Wednesday 52

11 April 2018

The first full week back to normality and it's so difficult - I thought last week's two day week was long enough, that was nothing at all! Thank goodness for an opportunity to focus on some good things, which was even more therapeutic than usual this week, including:


♥ Our first (non-family) visitor... Our friend B came to visit this weekend and it was so exciting to be able to show off our new home and the little town that we're now living in! It unfortunately wasn't looking its best in the dreary weather but at least some of Saturday was dry, enabling us to explore the town spotting some little signs of spring (like the magnolia tree below which is almost blooming), stop for a little drink in a cosy pub and pick up some snacks for the evening. We then headed back to our house to give him the royal tour and set up our bird feeder (discussed further below!) With the weather being so dreadful, it was actually super cosy to then be able to batten down the hatches, drink red wine and watch movies. Now *that's* how to do a dreary Saturday right!

♥ Anemones... I love these fragile-looking flowers, with their ruff of foliages balanced atop a surprisingly robust stems. I always seem to miss out on picking any up because blink and you'll miss them in the shops. But this weekend I popped out looking for some gorgeous blooms to replace my flagging tulips and was so excited to spot the last bunch in our local supermarket. They're so beautiful!

♥ Birds... I think I mentioned before we even moved in but I was very excited at the prospect of getting a bird feeder for our little garden as there seem to be heaps of wee birds around, and I was so aware over the past few really cold and snowy months how important it is to make sure there's food around for birds at this time of year in particular. This weekend we picked up a bird feeder and some peanuts to fill it with and hung it from one of the trees in the garden. It then proceeded to rain for the rest of the weekend so there were limited birds flying around but I've already spotted one or two having a tentative peck. Go go gadget birdwatching!

♥ First Aid training... A slightly tenuous good thing (!) but last Thursday evening, I was home alone and I dropped a heavy glass and metal pan lid on my foot. Oh my goodness the pain! I nearly fainted with the pain and at first, just sat down and put my head in my hands which didn't help at all. I've been on a first aid training course at work and thankfully that kicked in quickly so I did what you should do if you're feeling faint - lay down on the floor and propped my legs up. After a few minutes, I was feeling a whole lot better although my foot was still throbbing. It thankfully isn't broken, just bruised. Now, if there was a course for clumsiness I'd be straight on that. First aid classes for all though - I recommend them so much!

♥ Countryfile... There was something odd about our last flat - despite being a hilly area, it was so difficult to get a TV signal. We're now connected again so able to watch TV in real time, which means Countryfile on a Sunday evening! Is there anything more comforting?! This was shortly before the new Sunday night Agatha Christie on the BBC - one more episode to go and I still can't work out who's responsible. Is anyone else watching it?!

♥ Monday lunchings... LT and I had put a date in the diary a week or so back to grab lunch on Monday and it was just what I needed to kickstart my week, and get me through a particularly trying day... Why does an hour fly by when you're catching up with a friend? More lunchtime catch-ups I think and a really wonderful excuse to get away from my desk, which shamefully I don't usually do, and it makes such a difference to step away even for a short while. 

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoSamKerri, LauraSarahPetaElLauraMimmiMartinaLynseyKatie and Em (I think that's everyone - shout at me if you're not on the list!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Review: 'Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine' by Gail Honeyman

6 April 2018

If ever there was a post that got people talking on my Instagram page, it was when I shared the above photo and said I was reading 'Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine', and despite the fact that I had only just picked it up I was already completely hooked. So many people commented saying that they loved this book and whizzed through it but a few others said exactly the opposite - a bit of a Marmite book then, you either love it or hate it?

I joined a book group over on Instagram just over a month or so ago and when it came to choosing our first read, I suggested this book because I'd seen quite a few people reading it (usually on the tube!) and it had been on my wishlist for a while, so this would be the perfect excuse to pick it up. It was delivered to my office on a Friday morning, I started it on the train home that evening and had finished it by Sunday night - I'd probably have devoured it sooner only I had packing to do but I ran back to it every moment I could. 

What can I say without giving any of the plot away? The blurb on the cover reads:

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive - but not how to live.
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted - while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she's avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than... fine?

Eleanor is such an interesting character and I really enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes, and how she reacts to things which are so much part of the usual course of everyday life. While I guessed some of the elements that are gradually fed to you over the course of the story about her history and the events that have taken place, that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book in any way. I was rooting for her so completely. She's a joy. 

Living in a city and looking at people all around you, going to work, travelling home, all in their own little bubbles, it really made me a think a lot about loneliness and how it's possible to feel lonely, even when you're surrounded by people everyday. 

This is the perfect book if you're looking for a real comfort-read, something to lose yourself in completely. It won't change your life but it's just a wonderful, heartwarming story and everyone needs at least one of those on their shelf. 

Have you read this book? Drop me a comment letting me know what you think - I find that a lot of the fun of reading is also sharing and discussing it afterwards!

Wonderful Wednesday 51

4 April 2018

Well, we're all moved in and it all went surprisingly smoothly (touches every piece of wood in sight that I'm not jinxing something going forward). I'm sitting at our kitchen table looking out of the window at a completely different view to the one I've been used to for the last few years. Now if only the sun would shine ever so slightly, although if it could wait until the weekend actually that would be splendid.

But despite the grey grey grey weather, the past week has been full of sunshine in heaps of other ways and here are a few of my favourites...


♥ Short weeks... A four day week either side of a bank holiday weekend is all kinds of wonderful and I really wish they were sprinkled a little more regularly over the course of a year but perhaps I wouldn't treasure them so much when they did happen in that case? I think I would. I'm actually not back to work until tomorrow so this week is only two days' long - not too shabby at all, even if the sun didn't shine at all!

♥ Our own little place... It feels so wonderful to be all moved in at last and we keep looking around in shock that it's actually ours, having been renting for so long. It's our third place together but the first one that we've owned and every so often I have to remind myself that we can decorate it exactly as we choose, and move away from that distinctive shade of landlord-approved beige that you always seem to find in rental flats. My to-do lists are only increasing or being replaced with yet more tasks but these are only the most exciting ones; full of DIY plans, furniture options and shades of paint colours. 

♥ Lovely neighbours... We've been so lucky with our neighbours in all the places we've lived and I know how important it is to have people you can rely on next door as my parents have lived next door to some of theirs for years and years, and they're almost like family now - even coming to our wedding a few years ago. We knocked on the door of one of our new neighbours over the weekend to pick her brain about rubbish collection (why is it always so different in each place you live?!) and were invited straight in for a cup of tea and a chat. I could feel my shoulders just drop instantly, I had no idea that I had been feeling slightly apprehensive about this, but one wee chat later and I felt so much more relaxed.

♥ London adventures... While we may have moved out of London, we're still close enough for trips into the city and we ventured in a few times over the long weekend and during our time off together afterwards. On Easter Monday, we visited the Tate Modern for the last day of the Modigliani exhibition, which we'd been lucky enough to get tickets for. I'd been raving about this since I first went during the Christmas holiday and I was so pleased to be able to visit some of my favourites again, and discover some new pieces which hadn't caught my eye the first time round. Isn't that often the way? There are a couple of prints I'd like to save up for and buy for the house so it was productive too!

♥ Isle of Dogs... I love love love Wes Anderson's films and when I saw the trailer for a new one focusing entirely on dogs, it was instantly added to my must-watch list. We went to watch it yesterday and I already want to watch it again. I had the hugest grin on my face the whole way through, I loved every moment - it was hilarious and oh so heart-warming, with an oracle-spouting pug - what's not to love? Also, London-dwellers, we went to watch it at the Barbican. I've never been to the cinema there before but it was lovely - perfectly angled (and comfortable) seats and a great size screen. A lovely experience. Also a cloakroom, which as we were wrestling a not-insignificantly-sized shower caddy was a very welcome bonus.

♥ All of the chocolate... I gave up chocolate bars and cake for Lent, as well as sweets (I have a serious Percy Pigs habit) so it's been bliss to be able to tuck in again since the weekend! I'm really trying to eke out my Easter chocolate though...I think I say this every year but I don't know why it always tastes so much more delicious in egg form.

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoSamKerri, LauraSarahPetaElLauraMimmiMartinaLynseyKatie and Em (I think that's everyone - shout at me if you're not on the list!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

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